Cheerful african american woman with dental braces Cheerful african american woman with dental braces

Oral Health: How To Look After Your Teeth 

Maintaining good oral hygiene1 is essential to having healthy teeth and gums well into your golden years. So why do so many people have trouble looking after their teeth? 

For many, oral health isn’t a top priority. They’re overwhelmed by work or school, don’t have the mental strength to maintain oral hygiene habits, or it simply doesn’t cross their minds. Let’s take a look at how you can look after your teeth, and why it’s important that you do. 

Brush Twice a Day 

The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, for a minimum of 2 minutes. Brushing twice a day prevents the buildup of tartar, which is plaque that has hardened on your teeth and can only be removed at the dentist’s office. 

Tartar solidifies on your teeth after 12 hours. Before that, it’s still soft and can be brushed away. A buildup of tartar can further compromise your oral health. It’s porous and it can be home to more bacteria 2that rot your teeth. 

Go to the Dentist Regularly 

Everyone with healthy teeth and gums goes to their dentist regularly. Even if you follow all of the aforementioned advice, you’re bound to mess up sometimes. That’s ok. 

If you want to sip at your sugary coffee throughout the morning instead of drinking it in two gulps, that’s fine. If you forget to brush or floss for a while, that’s OK. As the information found at Bite Dental Studios notes, visiting your dentist is even more important if you have underlying health conditions, like diabetes. It’s crucial that you make an effort, and that you regularly visit your dentist for updates and advice. 

Check Your Brushing Technique 

You might not be brushing efficiently if you don’t have a good brushing technique. An electric toothbrush does your work for you. 

If you use a manual toothbrush, gently move it back and forth in short, circular strokes. Don’t use excessive force, as you will fray your toothbrush and brush enamel off your teeth. 

It’s Better to Eat In One Sitting than Snack Multiple Times throughout the Day 

Your teeth are in a constant battle between being demineralized (destroyed) and remineralized (repaired). Whenever you eat, the bacteria in your mouth break down the carbohydrates you consume, releasing lactic acid, aspartic acid3, and butyric acid. 

The normal pH of saliva is near neutral, but the aforementioned acids make it acidic. In acidic pH, enamel starts to dissolve. 

How long your teeth are subjected to acidic pH is crucial. It’s better to eat a chocolate bar in one sitting and have your mouth be acidic for 30 minutes than to eat it throughout the day and maintain an acidic pH for all of that time. 

Floss Once a Day 

A tooth has 5 surfaces, only 3 of which are cleaned after brushing. The part where your teeth touch and your gum line is left unclean. Bacteria can hide in these neglected corners of your mouth, causing cavities and gingivitis4. This is why dentists emphasize the importance of flossing. 

Taking care of your teeth is simple, yet hard. Despite this, it’s rewarding. Getting into good oral hygiene habits may seem tedious, but it’ll be worth it when you see your pearly whites in the mirror and you can enjoy delicious food into your old age. 

  1. Choo, Audrey, David M. Delac, and Louise Brearley Messer. “Oral hygiene measures and promotion: review and considerations.” Australian dental journal 46.3 (2001): 166-173. ↩︎
  2. Stewart, Eric J. “Growing unculturable bacteria.” Journal of bacteriology 194.16 (2012): 4151-4160. ↩︎
  3. Derissen, J. L., H. J. Endeman, and A. F. Peerdeman. “The crystal and molecular structure of L-aspartic acid.” Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry 24.10 (1968): 1349-1354. ↩︎
  4. Page, Roy C. “Gingivitis.” Journal of Clinical Periodontology 13.5 (1986): 345-355. ↩︎

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Namita Soren

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